Understanding Levels of Senior Care

RidgewoodAssisted Living, Elderly Care, Independent Living, Senior Apartments, Senior Living


As you visit various senior living communities, it’s important to ask what level of care can be expected for you or your loved one upon first moving in.  There are many types of care ranging from active senior living to skilled nursing care.  They all vary based on the level of assistance required by the resident and each community may have their own their own system for determining levels of care.  You may be asking what’s the difference?

Familiarize Yourself With The Terminology

Before you can even begin the processs of evaluating your next community, it’s important to understand the various terms.

  • Senior Communities – Sometimes referred to as Active Retirement Communities, senior communities are designed for elders requiring a low level of daily assistance.  Senior communities may be neighborhoods or towns that are limited to people of a minimum age.  They are designed fo active seniors and offer a variety of social activities.
  • Continuing Care or Progressive Care Communities – Sometimes called “Step Care,” these communities offer a wide range of options from independent living to assisted living and memory care. Many residents will move here while living independently.  As their needs increase, they have the option to increase  their level of care while continuing living in the same community.
  • Assisted Living – This option offers seniors a home where they can recieve daily assistance with various activities including housekeeping, meal preparation, 24-7 monitoring and/or security, shower assistance, toileting, medication assistance or reminders, transportation, eating, dressing and socialization.  In assisted living, you or your loved-one will likely have their own apartment including a private bathroom and kitchen or kitchenette.  There is likely access to a common areas such as theatres, dining rooms, libraries or communual sitting areas.
  • Board and Care – Often called senior group homes, board and care may offer a similar level of care to that of assisted living.  This is usually a single-family home which has been converted into a residence for senior or disable residents.  Amenities may vary greatly. While basic medical care can be attended to, residents with more severe medical conditions may be relocated to a more suitable residence.
  • Nursing Home – As the name denotes, this option offers extensive nursing services for residents.  Generally admission must be initiated by a person’s physician.  Many patients have an acute condition that requires this level of care.

Negotiating Levels of Care at Assisted Living Communities

You may not be aware that some communities are open for negotiating the care options available to you or your loved one will be charged prior to move-in.  For example, if your loved one requires a higher level of care you may be able to negotiate a lower-level price depending on the availability or season, among other factors.

Levels of Care Will Change Over Time

Be prepared for you or your loved one’s level of care needed to gradually increase over time.  If you enter a community at their lowest level of care, within a few years your level of care may need to be increased to the next level.  This means that monthly rates may also increase accordingly.  It’s important that your next home offer a variety of levels of care so that you may continue living in the same community for many years.

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